16. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, read by Kira, on 04/14/2014

The-Hum-and-the-Shiver-Alex-Bledsoe1Wild and willful Brownwyn Hyatt is back from the Iraq war.  There are omens that her mother is likely to die, and a haint is wanting thumshivo talk to her.  Will it be possible to change the future and keep her mom alive. Or if her Mom does die, will Brownwyn be able to remember her musical skills in order to learn her Mother’s song.  Will she be able to resist the temptation of her old boyfriend, bad-boy, Dwight?  It also includes the storylines of a Christian minister trying to make inroads into this isolated community of people called the Tufa.  And it includes the storyline of Don Swayback, 1/8th Tufa, who comes back to his roots.

I really liked the storyline of the book up until the last chapter, even if it was a bit slow-paced.  I didn’t like the way the protagotuatha_de_danann_by_mirovia-d4h4bx0nist behaved in the end, so totally self-centereeriu_queen_of_tarad.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Fortunately, the Milk. by Neil Gaiman , read by Kira, on 03/31/2014

milkA cute piece of froth wherein the father goes out to purchase some milk for his children’s cereal, and when he arrives later than expected he spins a tale of time-traveling dinosaurs flying in balloons visiting talking volcanoes, purple ponies, vampires, and GaimanMilk_1_photo_Brady_Hall080713pirates.  Not Neil Gaiman’s usual fare.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags: ,

Murder of Crows: a Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop, read by Kira, on 03/29/2014

murdcrows Mexican Wolf Peeking Over the Snow c.murder.crows.poland.TNIn the first novel, Written In Red Meg Corbin cements her place among the Others (vampires, werewolves, Medusa-plague-causer, elementals, etc).  In this book Murder of Crows, Meg and her Lakeside community confront additional attacks on their community and attempts to recapture Meg.   The Others are reminiscent of Native Americans, and I like the fact that they don’t get pushed around here and are able to deal with the intruders on their own terms… also that the polluters get their comeuppance.   I really enjoy this series – definite page-turners and full of atmosphere!

 

“Near perfect…Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”—All Things Urban Fantasy

27. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Women's Fiction (chick lit) · Tags:

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, read by Kira, on 03/24/2014

What a delightful wonderful tale!   Sarah Addison Allen’s writing is a bit like Anne Tyler’s, but with a little magical realism and and little more optimism thrown in.  I liked how you got to know each character’s back story, how they became who they are.  I liked the ending though pLost lakeersonally, I could see it coming.  And the book had a positive impact lost lon my bodlake losty  cypress kneeslo lk  devons wingslots lake lot lakeimage.    lost lkeLost lake fwaking Kate

17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman, read by Kira, on 03/15/2014

grimlegElizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulating Materials repository where objects including items from the Grimm tales are loaned out.  However, someone is stealing from the repository and she and her fellow pages investigate.  I really enjoyed the story – its Not perfect, but very entertaining and creative.

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17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Kira, NonFiction

Dave Barry's Greatest Hits by Dave Barry, read by Kira, on 03/14/2014

Dave BarryMore Humor by Dave Barry.  You have to get into the storytelling mode, for Barry’s humor to work, and then it catches you!
I very much enjoyed this book!

 

 

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Ash by Malinda Lo., read by Kira, on 02/28/2014

ash_malindalo_500A creative retelling of Cinderella – with a little Tam Lin thrown in.  Ash becomes an indentured servant to her stepmother when her father’s debts come due.  She sees fairyland as an escape from her drudgery and abuse.  The fairy Sidhean who could steal her away from mortals is reluctant to do so, seemingly because he is cursed to love her and have his heart broken.  Eventually, Ash falls in love with the Kings Huntress, and realizes, she might want to stay in the mortal realm.  Enjoyable, 500fullfast-paced rehuntress_arc_cover_webad.

01. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, read by Kira, on 02/27/2014

dragonslippers  dragonskin-slippers Another story where the orphan maiden is sacrificed to the local dragon, and eventually marries the prince of the kingdom.

Not all goes as planned, first, they weren’t sure the dragon still existed, since no one had seen him.  Then it turns out the dragon really didn’t want to deal with humans, he was too old, and humans too dangerous.  Then it turns out that dragons horde very different items depending on their own particular interest.  This particular dragon hordes shoes.  The protagonist Creel, gets a pair of shoes from the dragon, shoes with special powers.  A delightful tale, I did think back to the Stolen Child, about the theme, enjoying what you’ve got, when Creel was living in the dragon’s cave, eating well, pleasant company, and able to embroider to her heart’s content.  To someone who would love more time to craft, it sounded idea..   Not as good as the other 2 books I’ve read by Day, the pacing wdragonslipas a bit too dragintense towards the end for me.

late bloomer  Clarissa Pinkola Estes examines archetypal themes in fairy tales relevant to unleashing creativity and letting your unique talents blossom. Estes uses a combination of Jungian psychology together with family wisdom to explain the significance of various tales.  I learned that she had been held at gunpoint down in Guatemala, during a period of civil unrest, listening to her inner voice/angel, she eventually started singing to her kidnappers, who let her go, saying the singing was driving them nuts. She finishes each chapter with a blessing.  I really liked this title, As it was so deep & rich, I wouldn’t want to read several back to back.  I really clientImg_estesenjoyed this book, & feel cactslike I benefited from her wisdom.

This was a mixed bag of tales.  Some lived up to the advertising, others were less successful.  One of the problems I had with some of the tales, is telling me how smart the protagonist is, and then all she did was sprinkle magic fairy dust that she had from somewhere to solve all the villages problems.  I realize it is more difficult to show instead of tell, in short tales, but maybe you Not-One-Damsel-in-Distress-9780152020477can’t have short fairy tales that cannot 5c6beb7d1455d9712297b6c80feb8533be shown, but paladinbyxiaji777xj3must be told. strng il_570xN.541902331_kzpc images I did enjoy the story Janet Burd (a Tam Lin variation), as well as the Mollee Whoppee story.

26. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Graphic Book, Kira

Fairest: In all the Land by Bill Willingham, read by Kira, on 02/24/2014

Someone is killing all the pretty heroines.  Cindy (Cinderella) takes up the investigation trying to figure out who and why, and can she save her sisters.  An odd story within a story, except at the end, you realize you should have paid attention to the main narrator.    9781401239008_p0_v2_s260x420STK619326120306035527-fairest-1-cover-story-top index

24. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George, read by Kira, on 02/21/2014

princess of glass    Another delightful retelling of a fairy tale by Jessica Day George, this time, we revisit the story Cinderella.  In this version it is the Fairy Godmother who is wicked, and Eleanora (Cinderella) is but a victim.  The protagonist is Poppy one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from an earlier book.  I think I must read all of this author’s books – they are enchanting!red s red glass

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman., read by Kira, on 02/16/2014

Odd is a kid who smiles all the time, even after his father dies.  The village people do Not understand him.  Then he attempts to use his father’s giant axe, and in the process Odd & the Frost Giants - Cover +injures his leg; he builds himself a crutch and drags himself home.  His mother remarries a man who doesn’t care for Odd.  But Odd perseveres, using the talents he has, he is able to help out the Norse gods, Odin, Loki, and Thor, who have been turned into different animals.  This was a AdamStower_OddtheFrostGiants01fun short read.universe_within

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow . by Jessica Day George, read by Kira, on 02/16/2014

sun-and-moon-ice-and-snow1   Another delightful rendition of Beauty and the Beast this time in a Norbear - Copywegian mode.  This was well done, fast paced, and atmospheric!  I would like to see a version where the girl does NOT succeastL - Copyumb to kn_eastbearsun moonpressure from her family.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, read by Kira, on 02/19/2014

cover-of-fairest fairestA reinterpretation of Snow White.  In this fractured version, the protagonist, an innkeeper’s daughter, is a larger girl who is sometimes treated poorly by other people because of her looks.  However, she has the most beautiful voice in the kingdom. This was well written and challenged our culture’s obsession with good looks, asking the reader to question our assumptions we make based on physical attractiveness.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner., read by Kira, on 02/15/2014

A satire on Political Correctness covering a number of common fairy tales.  In one the helpful woodsman gets his head chopped off, for intruding and doubting that Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, couldn’t work out their own problems.  hw7.plIt was ok, I did learn some things about discrimination and different ways of viewing the world.

19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, read by Kira, on 02/09/2014

A wonderful entrancing story! a hobgoblin, trades places with the real Henry Day, getting a chance to life out a human life, after waiting about 100 years for his turn.  The previous HenrStolen_Childy Day, now renamed Anaday, struggles to make sense of his world, and to fit in with the band of hobgoblins.  Both characters struggle to figure out what to do with the lives that they have.  I like the fact that Donohue took a familiar narrative, that of the stolen/exchanged child, and tackled stochilddeeper questionstlchls of what it meastolns to live a meaningful life.  This book reminded me of both   and Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let me Go” as well as Adam Phillips’ book missing outMissing Out (which had too much psychoanalysis for me to finish).

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira · Tags:

Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman, read by Kira, on 02/08/2014

Black Orchid tells or retells the story of one of DC comic’s superheroes (or superheroines).  The Black Orchid had appeared in DC Comics of the 1970′s.  Neil Gaiman performs a twist on the usual narrative of a superhero.  The story begins with our superhero getting killed in the beginning pages.  Then a former friend uses the woman’s DNA to create a plant/human hybrid, that has different superpowers.  It is a very violent story, with death upon death of the both the good and the bad guys.  Lex Luther is the main bad guy, while other superheroes/villains make cameo appearances.  This title is credited with helping to break the way for lessindex traditionalimagesBlackO graphic novels.

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Harlequin Valentine by Gaiman, Neil, read by Kira, on 02/09/2014

Harlequin_valentine_cover

Apparently the Harlequin is a stock character in European and British theater specifically, the Commedia dell’Arte format – along with a whole host of other characters – including Columbine – his love interest.  In this retelling of the Harlequin’s usual story, Gaiman adds a twist to the standard narrative.  Even though I was not familiar with the standard narrative, I could see that giving the woman powers and moving her into a main character status is a twist on the standard narrative where the woman is often the object, and Not the subject.  Interesting piece.harqp3

03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Christmas : a Candid History by Bruce David Forbes., read by Kira, on 01/17/2014

banxmas
Did you know that the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas in the US & UK for almost 2 Centuries!  So working Christmas was the norm, when Bob Cratchit asked Scrooge for the day off.  The christmas-a-candid-historyChristmas Carol story makes it seem as if, Scrooge is being a mean person, as opposed to a law-abPURITAN-BAN-ON-CHRISTMAS-WAS-TO-PREVENT-DEMONIZATIONS-OF-CITIZENS-IN-COMMUNITYiding citizen, a shrewd business person.  The biggest reason for the revival of the winter holiday celebration in Britain & America was the book, the Christmas Carol; the 2nd reason for the revival of celebrating Christmas, was the press’ fascination with the young Queen Victoria & Prince Albert from Germany who captured the royal families’ Christmas Tree in the newspaper.  The “tradition” caught on.cmaspuritans